Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Connect BC by bike lanes

If Newton were to have physically-separated bike lanes, where to start?

One approach would be to provide safe lanes through a busy area, like Newton Centre or Newton Corner. The separated lanes would not provide safe haven for an entire journey, but for an important part of it. Initially, the lanes would be used by bicyclists who, for other parts of their rides, would be willing and able to ride on the streets, but would unlikely attract new riders to the streets.

Another, more ambitious approach would be to create lanes that would provide a haven for an entire trip that people might be willing to take by bicycle if the safety and comfort of separated lanes were available for (nearly) the entire trip. Any one of the schools or villages would make a good candidate for one end. But where to start that enough people would be on or near the route to justify it?

A third, more feasible approach would be to connect Boston College's Chestnut Hill and Centre Street campuses with physically-separated bike lanes. The demographics are ideal -- young people who would be likely to bike between the campuses. The route is ideal -- students need to get between the campuses. It's a short enough distance for a first trial. Commonwealth Avenue is one of the few Newton thoroughfares that is wide enough to absorb a physically separated bike lane without difficulty. And, Boston College might be an institution willing to help fund a project.

If it's a success, extensions are obvious. From Comm. Ave. into Newton Centre. From the Centre Street campus down to Newton Corner. Down the length of Comm. Ave.

Next thing you know, there'd be a network of separated bike lanes all over the city!

Previously: Physically Separated Bike Lanes


jwardell said...

Newton corner doesn't even have safe lanes for automobiles.
But perhaps if there was a bike/pedestrian flyover bridge or tunnel, the long crossing lights on either side wouldn't halt traffic and gridlock the whole circle so often.
Way too expensive to be a real consideration though.

Doug Haslam said...

I agree that Newton Corner needs to fix the car issues first-- somehow. I have a safe(r) separate bicycle lane for Newton Corner for now-- it's call Church St :)

But to the larger issues-- yes, separate bike lanes would be great, and Comm Ave is a logical place to try it out.